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1  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 26, 2014, 08:11AM
Sadly, the ONLY things the GOP is offering right now are paranoia, further dismantling of the institutions that make the society work, and continued siphoning of the GDP into the offshore accounts of the top <.01% at the expense of the American Middle Class..
2  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 23, 2014, 07:40PM
BE AFRAID! BE VERY AFRAID!

One week out from the mid-term elections, the right-wing scare machine is running in overdrive. Irrational fear over Ebola and ISIL have essentially replaced all other factors, other than hatred of President Obama, in GOP campaign drives to election day.

Of course, they have kinda been forced into it. They can’t very well attack Democrats on the economy, healthcare, or any issue where positive outcomes are possible in the short run (cleaning up W’s mess in the Middle East is going to take generations) because progress is being manifested in all those areas.

They sure can’t run on anything positive they have accomplished for this country in the last decade or so because that doesn’t exist. Their legacy for that period is wars, deficits, widening income inequality, wasted time, hearings, and votes in Congress, and a Government shutdown.

So, despite the fact that since I sat down to write this column, more Americans have died because Republican Governors have refused to accept Medicaid expansion than have died at the hands of Ebola and ISIL combined (that would be a total of 3), we are being deluged with enough fear and hysteria to make Halloween seem superfluous.

We keep hearing folks with pretty much ZERO background or knowledge in epidemiology screaming for a travel ban from West Africa even though every single expert who does have a background and knowledge in the field is saying that would be counter-productive. Shades of climate change.

We continue to be deluged with demands from right-wing demagogues to make sure ISIL isn’t “infiltrating our porous southern border” though our security and intelligence apparatus assures us that is not in their short term plans or capabilities. Yesterday’s incident in Canada should be a wake up call. It is not our southern border we should be concerned about, it is lone wolf actors who have been radicalized here in our midst.

If anything, Middle Eastern illegals would most likely enter the US from Canada anyway, but that doesn’t line up with the Right’s pre-existing fear of undocumented Latinos.

Sadly, it’s probably going to work. Many Democrats, rather than taking the initiative and pounding them with the successes of their policies, are on the defensive and sounding like confused high school debaters.

Democrats hold the winning hand if they would just play it. I suspect fear is going to win.

Wake up, America!
3  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 16, 2014, 08:52AM
Most of the citatons were from Forbes, hardly a left leaning rag. And, again, ALL of those FACTS are easily Googleable. As for unemployment statistics, they have been figured using the exact same data points for over 50 years. When comparing numbers from different years, you are comparing apples to apples. You may want to say they don't measure what they should, but that is a completely different issue.
4  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 15, 2014, 08:44PM
And, on, and on!

JEFF61B

I’m going to take the easy way out in this column and re-print a list I saw of  “14 Facts About the Obama Presidency Most People Don’t Know”. It is a list prepared by someone who posts online under the by-line Jeff61B.

Remember, these are FACTS, not opinions. There is not a single item in this list that is arguable to even the slightest degree. Each and every one of them is absolutely true.

It’s sad so many Americans are so blinded by ideology and hatred, and fed spin, misinformation, and lies, they refuse to see these realities.

1. We've now had 63 straight months of economic expansion.

2. We are currently enjoying the longest period of private sector job creation in American history.

3. Unemployment has dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9% and projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015.

4. The stock market continues to set new records since President Obama has been in office.

5. The Federal budget deficit is shrinking. It’s been reduced by two-thirds since 2009.

6. Under President Obama, spending has increased only 1.4% annually, the lowest rate since Eisenhower was president.

7. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower now than just about any time in the previous 50 years.

8. Our dependence on foreign oil has shrunk due to record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.

9. At least 7 million more Americans now have health insurance than before.

10. The Affordable Care Act has added years to the life of Medicare.

11. Since passage of the Affordable Care Act, we are seeing the slowest rate of increase in healthcare costs since 1960.

12. We currently have fewer soldiers, sailors and airmen in war zones than any time in over 10 years.

13. There have been zero successful attacks by al Qaeda on US soil since Obama became president.

14. We now successfully catch and deport more illegal immigrants than ever before.

This is hardly a comprehensive list of the accomplishments of the Obama administration. This is a record the Democrats should be riding like a thoroughbred into this midterm election.

Jeff61B supports his list with multiple, credible sources, but each of these FACTS is easily googled. If you are interested in reading the original article, it can be found at - http://jeff61b.hubpages.com/hub/14-Facts-About-The-Obama-Presidency-That-Most-People-Dont-Know. It’s worth the read.

Wake up, America!
5  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 15, 2014, 08:41PM

 I am not the one posting a weekly hate filled diatribe about other people. 
 

If you're perceiving hate in my columns, you are in serious need of some reading comprehension remediation.


The reason I don't think you're a troll is that at some level you seem to actually believe what you write here.


Hence my statement,  "There's a difference between immature philosophical thought and willful ignorance. I guess the/a determinate difference would be whether new (true) information changes ones mind." In each of the last two weeks I have had concepts for columns which I changed because I found information that contradicted what I intended to write. One was on the 5th circuits decision to allow the Texas law on admitting rights and clinic requirements to go into effect (which, thankfully for many impoverished women in Texas, the SCOTUS overruled) closing many women's health clinics.The other was on budgeting issues at the NIH and CDC. In both cases I found out that my perceptions on the issues were not borne out by the facts and realities, and I re-evaluated my positions. THat doesn't happen much on the other side of the fence.
6  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 13, 2014, 04:47AM
I guess Snediker has achieved his purpose.  You guys are arguing and he's off somewhere else being a troll.  Shame on all of us.  I wonder if he isn't Homer in a new guise (with a different computer).

Doesn't seem like an argument so much as an augmentation. Reich's last comment was, "did I miss anything?" My post wasn't specifically aimed @ TS, just as a generic comment about the quality of discourse in general in the country these days. TS may occasionally exhibit some of those traits, he certainly links to people who do, but I think he's making an honest effort to make his points. There's a difference between immature philosophical thought and willful ignorance. I guess the/a determinate difference would be whether new (true) information changes ones mind.
7  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 12, 2014, 02:24PM
This is a FaceBook post from Robert Reich. I would add, 7) Habitually uses false equivalencies. It is the criteria I have started to use to decide whether I will respond on a thread. The willfully ignorant are not nearly so prevalent on this forum as on FB, but these are decent criteria to apply in any discussion.

"Yesterday I urged you to talk with people who disagree with you. That requires respectful engagement. But I'm not suggesting you waste your time on people who are willfully ignorant. The six signs of willful ignorance: (1) The person you’re debating uses nastiness as a substitute for thought; (2) attacks the source of an argument rather than the argument’s merits; (3) claims causation from mere correlation (e.g., a rooster’s crowing makes sun rise); (4) disputes facts on which there’s an overwhelming scientific or historical consensus (evolution, climate change, widening inequality, the Holocaust); (5) blames or stereotypes entire groups of people; (6) repeats the same point without responding to arguments or information you provide.
Did I leave anything out?"

8  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 10, 2014, 05:47AM
This week's effort:
The GOP has dropped two of the biggest clubs people expected them to bludgeon Democrat candidates with this election season. I fully understand why they have dropped them. I don’t understand why the Democrats have not picked them up and turned the tables.
 
The economy is picking up steam, and, while the benefits are only just beginning to be felt by most Americans, it is the strongest it has been in close to a decade. I have actually heard high ranking GOP spokesman (Ari Fleischer for one) complaining that “all the benefit of the economic growth is going to those at the top”. HELLOOOO!! Thank you for finally admitting that “trickle-down” is a cruel joke the GOP has played on us for 35 years now.
 
The 750,000 jobs a month disappearing on the day Obama was sworn in have now turned into growth of 250,000 a month, a turnaround of 1 Million jobs a month. Positive job growth in the private sector has now gone on for over 55 months, most in the history of America.
 
Many of the new jobs being created are in the manufacturing sector for the first time in more than a decade. Companies are actually starting to look at the possibility of “in-sourcing” some manufacturing jobs.
 
Unemployment has fallen to it’s lowest rate since before the start of the Bush recession, and the stock market has more than doubled since hitting it’s recession bottom. The housing market has stabilized, and people’s equity in their homes is growing again.
 
“Obamacare” is showing equal signs of flourishing, no matter the spin, misinformation, and lies you continue to hear or read in the conservative media. The uninsured rate has dropped by 20% since the law went into effect. That number would be far higher were it not for the neanderthals in red states who still refuse to take the MedicAid expansion money.
 
The number of insurance companies participating in the exchanges is about to double since the companies who participated last year saw stock values increase from 20-30%. The medical cost curve has flattened, and costs will increase at the lowest rate in over 50 years. Premiums for many Americans will go down, and the reduction on the deficit over the next 10 years will be bigger than expected.
 
I do not understand why Democrats are not beating GOP candidates bloody with these truths.
 
Wake up, America!
9  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 10, 2014, 05:46AM
Just what is the point of the Voter ID law in Texas? 

The point is to lower the turnout. Period!
10  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 06, 2014, 05:13AM

First, the camel's nose is under the tent based on the latest Supreme Court decisions that equate money with speech and allows anybody to buy an election by flooding one side or another with advertising (both negative and positive).


The camel can be thrown out of the tent. THe Citizen's United case overturned 100 years of precedent. Money is propert, not speech, and most thinking people understand that. A couple of more Democrat Presidents can undo the damage done by Bush appointing Roberts and Alito (As bad as his tax cuts and wars were, those appontments may be the worst things he did to this country).  Scalia and Thomas can't live forever.


Second, each side thinks it can raise more money than the other, so every time someone suggests spending limits the side that thinks it can raise the most money usually refuses.  In some cases this is both the Democrats and Republicans.


I don't recall the Dems ever being against campign finance reform and controlling the money in elections. In my memory only one side has fought that, the way they have always fought anything and everything that empowers the average American.

Your other points are valid, and deserving of discussion. The GOP has long known it WILL NOT win elections based on their policies and agenda (because they only represent the interests of a very small segment of the population) if their is large turnout in elections. THat knowledge is the impetus behind all of their suppression activities. FUll exercise of the franchise would spell the end of their party unless they did some major modification to those poliices and agenda. It hasn't happened in 150 years. I doubt it would happen regardless.
11  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 05, 2014, 10:54AM
Goldman has always played both sides of the field. But you act like they only donate to Republicans. Rahm Emanuel,  Tim Geithner,  Jack Lew and many other close current and former advisers were and are still on their payroll. Democrats are just as guilty and Obama is up to his eyes in Goldman money, influence and people.

My support for this President is anything but blind. I have many issues with moves his administration has, and hasn't made. That said, I cringe anytime I think of the disaster this country would be had we elected either of the alternatives we were offered in the last two elections.

Thank you for supporting my suggestion we get money out of our political system. Public financing of elections, making Election Day a National Holiday, and making it a misdemeanor for an eligible voter not to would fix most of the problems in out government. It would also spell the end of  the GOP in a single election cycle.
12  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 05, 2014, 09:33AM
Goldman-Sachs ditched the President like a hot potato after he signed Dodd-Frank. Wanting audits of the Fed has been an issue for folks with a social conscience on both sides of the aisle for a long time. I'll keep my faith in Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders, thank you.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/09/goldman-sachs-obama-romney-contributions_n_1950944.html
13  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Oct 03, 2014, 05:42AM
And, the next effort:

Regulatory Capture

“Once clients became wealthy enough, certain consumer laws didn’t apply to them”.

Let that sink in a minute.
 
This statement was allegedly made by a Senior Officer at Goldman-Sachs to a bank examiner from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
 
If that’s not bad enough, the former examiner (she was fired by the Fed, again allegedly, for refusing to back off on tougher regulatory scrutiny of the bank) claims her colleagues at the Fed asked her to “ignore the remark and change meeting minutes she had taken”.
 
The number of Red Flags raised in the secretly recorded tapes, revealed this week by Pro-Publica and This American Life, should resemble a Chinese May Day parade. Senators Sherrod Brown and Elizabeth Warren have called immediately for Congressional investigations into the Fed and it’s relationship with the banks it is supposed to regulate.
 
The Federal Reserve System is an extra-governmental entity that is partially private and partially public. Its leadership is appointed by the President and voted on by Congress, but oversight and control of its activities by Congress and the GAO is limited. One of its main duties is supposed to be oversight of banking regulations, such as Dodd-Frank, put in place by Congress.
 
The tapes reportedly show bank examiners allowing the management of G-S to set the tone and parameters of meetings between their bank and those who are supposed to provide oversight of their activities. This leads to poor enforcement, and leads one to suspect that few lessons were learned from the disaster of 2008.
 
Although retiring AG Erik Holder’s tenure should go down as one of the most influential in history, the fact there was not a single indictment of a banker after the financial implosion of 2008 will remain a blight on his record. The evidence of “regulatory capture” exposed in these tapes may give a pretty good insight into why that was the case.
 
“Regulatory Capture” is the process whereby those responsible for oversight of an industry, think Congress and lobbyists, defer to those in the industry in hopes of landing a lucrative job in the industry after leaving government employ. It is yet another glaring example of the corrosive damage money is doing to the political system in this country.
 
Until we get the money out of our political system, what we have is the best we can expect.
 
Wake up, America!
14  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 29, 2014, 04:34PM
The biggest recent expansion of the DoE came with Bush's NCLB program. If you're against that, you have more in common with the teacher's unions than you might have thought.

My take on the education thing (again, my business background leads me to structural explanations) is that our schools reflect our interest in education. As a society, we're largely contemptuous of education and educated people, and it's impossible to produce great schools under those circumstances. That's why we have lousy schools, but great sports teams and phones and shopping malls--it's what we genuinely care about. If we cared about schools, we would have good ones one way or another.

Back in the 80s, when Japan was eating our lunch economically, there was a big hue and cry over the superior quality of Japanese schools. When the newspapers came out each June announcing the local Valedictorians and Salutatorians, a good number of them were Asian, suggesting that American schools weren't inferior due to any policy, but because they had the disadvantage of being full of American students. It turns out that when you have one group (Japanese) who are largely ashamed of doing poorly in school, and another (Americans) who are largely ashamed of doing well in school, the former will outshine the latter, regardless of what school they're in.

That's one of the flaws in market-based school schemes. They're not without merit, but they assume that markets produce superior products. In fact, markets produce what people want, whether it's good or not. Markets produce McDonald's restaurants and Kardashians and Biebers. In the 70s, they produced enormous, lumbering cars that wasted gas and drove poorly, but had vinyl roofs with little opera windows in them.

That's why vouchers won't reliably produce great schools. They'll produce schools with attributes that the market desires, which is easy grading (aka self esteem) great sports teams, convenient hours, etc. I don't think most parents will shop around for whoever will give the kids Proust in the ninth grade.

The acid test of this was the Common Core. Before it was a political football, it was supported by most governors (contrary to popular belief, it didn't originate with the feds, although they provide support and encouragement). The purpose of the Common Core was to bring schools in every state up to international standards. Regardless of what you hear in the partisan media. the opposition to the program was spearheaded by parents who were unhappy to discover that their kids were dunderheads when compared to international standards. Must be something wrong with international standards if my brilliant kid can't meet them, right?

Against that backdrop, it's foolish to expect some policy to overcome the culture of incuriosity and anti-intellectualism of the American people. Those who look at policy are looking in the wrong place.

Maybe the single best post on this board ever.
15  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 27, 2014, 04:39AM

Johnnie One-Note!

Must be sad to have such a tin ear a chord of such breadth and tonality sounds as a single pitch. I'll admit to a singular message, GOP policies are, and always have been, toxic for the American society, but from the tonic of economic issues to the fifth of foreign policy to all the complexities and various inflections of social issues, it is hardly a single note.
16  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 27, 2014, 04:33AM
You mean like establishing vouchers for better education opportunities for the needy? Oh, I forgot, according to you, that would be racism.  Evil

No, it's not racism, it's bad policy. One more example of the GOP policy of transferring public money into private pockets.
17  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 26, 2014, 09:06AM
Say what you will, American women are starting to wake up to the fact that one party prefers they be barefoot, pregnant, and in the kitchen, to tell it like it used to be told. If they come out to vote en masse, especially those who are young and single, the GOP's days as a viable party are numbered. The GOP has ZERO to offer women, and does much to hinder and harm them in many aspects of their lives. What was it they used to say about Hell and scorned women?
18  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 26, 2014, 06:51AM
The 'real' war on women is being waged by the moderate and radical Muslims.

IT's just more violent, not more real.
19  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: Wake Up, America! on: Sep 26, 2014, 06:07AM
This week's column

Vote, Ladies!!

There is one “minority” that all the GOP voter suppression efforts cannot effect. This “minority” actually makes up the majority of voters in the USA, and the GOP is shaking in their boots that they will turn out in big numbers for this mid-term election.

This “minority” is, of course, women. Mitt Romney lost the last election largely because of an 11 point deficit among women. His party has done absolutely nothing since the last election to win the hearts and minds of this countries largest  demographic.

They have continued their all out “War on Women” without even a brief cease fire. Every Republican Senator voted against the Equal Pay Bill, 22 GOP Senators and 138 GOP Representatives voted against the re-authorization of the Violence against Women Act, and, in the last 3 years, GOP state legislatures have passed over 200 bills limiting a woman’s access to healthcare and family planning.

Now we are seeing the beginning of push back from women’s media. Many of the leading women’s magazines are beginning to publish articles discussing political policy and issues that are important for and matter to women. This is new, and potentially game changing.

A 10% increase in the number of women voting in the upcoming midterms would turn much of the country blue. This is a demographic where GOP voter suppression activities will have no effect because it does not fit into any of the narrow categories their efforts are aimed at. Women are everywhere, and a big majority of them don’t like the GOP message or policy agenda.

Cosmopolitan, arguably the biggest fish in the women’s magazine pond, has jumped into the mid-term fray with its “#CosmoVotes” campaign. Featuring endorsements, stories on women-centric policy issues, and a get the readers to the polls effort, it will be interesting to see if there is a noticeable impact.

More magazine is running a 10 page layout profiling “Moms Demand Action” and other politicians and celebrities who support sane gun legislation. These are but two examples of a growing movement meant to empower women through the polls.

I’ve seen it said that “if grandmothers ran the world, there would be no more wars”. It is certainly true that if women ran the country, we would not see the ongoing dismantlement of the safety net, or the continued onslaught against women’s rights that we have witnessed since 2010.

Wake up, Ladies!!
20  Practice Break / Purely Politics / Re: SCOTLAND on: Sep 24, 2014, 04:39AM
And an 85+% turnout s impressive. If we could get 1/2 of that we would have a WAY better government. Just curious, do our Canadian friends consider independence for Quebec as a matter of when, not if? Is their "genie out of the bottle" as well?
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